Dodge Ram 1500. Photo: Chrysler.
I’ve long been a proponent of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), and sales show that the F-Series and its closest competitor — the Silverado from General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) — have long dominated sales in the U.S. market. That’s a big deal, since both companies derive much of their profits in North America from the full-size pickup segment, and some analysts estimate that profits could be as large as $10,000 per truck.
In the past, Consumer Reports has clobbered the Dodge Ram, but that wasn’t the case this year. Will the Ram’s recent victory in Consumer Reports help the pickup take market share away from its F-Series and Silverado rivals?
Line in the sand
Long ago, intensely loyal truck enthusiasts decided that you’re either a Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) guy or Chevy guy, and nothing else mattered. That left the Dodge Ram on the outside looking in – something Chrysler hopes to change. Here’s how sales have stacked up recently.
You can see a recent uptick in Ram sales, mostly taken away from the Silverado, as the F-Series remains on a sales rampage. One reason for Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s success is that in terms of redesigns, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s 2013 Silverado is a dinosaur — years overdue for a new model look.
That’s because it’s taken years for General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) to become financially stable from its bailout and have the cash flow to redesign its vehicles. Finally, as we’re seeing an automotive industry rebound and profitability improve, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is beginning to redesign many vehicles – including its most important one, the Silverado.
What’s the big deal?
Consumer Reports magazine announced that the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup is the best full-size pickup, with a score of 78 in road testing, according to Automotive News. That scores 10 points ahead of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s F-Series. Consumer Reports is known for rigorous testing, and it’s valuable for Dodge to receive this ranking and even be “recommended.”
But there is a caveat. The Ram 1500 is the freshest out of the domestic automakers’ full-size pickups. The Silverado is introducing its first redesigned model since 2007 — and Consumer Reports hasn’t finished testing the new model. In addition, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s next-generation 2015 F-Series has been hugely hyped and looks to impress when it hits the market. So what’s better about the Ram 1500 right now?
“Continued interior and powertrain improvements make the Ram a particularly well-rounded choice,” said Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports‘ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Conn, according to Automotive News.
Edmunds agrees, giving it an “A” rating and noting reasons for its ranking as “supple ride and composed handling; eight-speed transmission; impressive base V6 engine; refined cabin; impressive tech features and controls.”